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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 April 2019

Americans for and against Donald Trump’s wall turn to Crowdfunding

Mr Trump is asking congress for $5bn to build his wall.

One of the crowdfunding initiatives has raised $13m. AFP
One of the crowdfunding initiatives has raised $13m. AFP

A battle of the crowdfund has broken out online between those for and against Donald Trump’s planned wall along the Mexico border.

One campaign aims to make up the shortfall in funding for Mr Trump’s border wall, the other fundraises for ‘ladders’ to help people over it.

They have one thing in common, the leaders of both campaigns are former armed forces personnel.

Brian Kolfage, an air force veteran, set up his fundraiser We The People Will Fund The Wall five days ago, with a target of raising £1bn.

As Trump threatened a government shutdown over payment for his campaign promise on Friday, the crowdfunder, which aims to help fund the 2000-mile-long wall, reached $13m (Dh48m).

As his campaign went viral, US news outlets revealed Mr Kolfage had run a Facebook group called Right Wing News, which has been banned by the social media platform and has set up a number of conspiracy-theory websites.

Responding to questions about how the US government would accept such a payment, Mr Kolfage wrote on the crowdfunding page:

“We have contacted the Trump Administration to secure a point of contact where all the funds will go upon completion. When we get this information secured we will update. We have many very high level contacts already helping.”

The alternate crowdfunder was set up in in response to the fund in favour of a border wall. Although titled Ladders to Get Over Trump's Wall, it is not for ladders to help migrants over the proposed wall. Rather, the beneficiaries will be Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Centre for Education and Legal Services.

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“We saw some folks are raising money for a border wall to keep out our migrant siblings and fellow human beings, who are fleeing violence and persecution and whose tragically-underpaid labor is essential to the US economy,” wrote Charlotte Clymer, an army veteran on the fundraising page.

“Seems like a bad idea on countless levels for everyone involved. Maybe we should focus on human rights and creating a community that reflects our supposed values.”

Her crowdfunder, set up on Wednesday had raised over $100,000 by Friday evening.

During the 2016 election campaign, Mr Trump claimed Mexico would pay for the wall, but is currently asking the US Congress for $5bn towards its construction.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1075386058282545152

This week, Mr Trump said the wall would be "artistically designed steel slats, so you can easily see through it...."

Updated: December 22, 2018 04:49 AM

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